09/08/2014 01:39 pm ET Updated Nov 08, 2014

5 Great Questions for a First Date and 5 Bad Ones

First dates are your chance to get to know your potential partner, but make sure you ask the right questions.

The first date can be nerve-wracking. You want to be yourself and act natural, but you also want to make sure you make a great first impression. Usually, first dates are a casual attempt to get to know each other a little better (and have fun doing it), and that boils down to asking lots of questions. Here are five questions you should definitely ask on a first date:

1. What is your greatest passion? Going beyond asking about work and home life, this can tell you a lot about a person.
2. What is your dream? Some people may be pursuing their dreams, while others have abandoned theirs. Talking about dreams is intimate and open at the same time, and allows someone to truly express him/herself.
3. What is the most incredible place you've ever been to? This question opens up new avenues for discussion, inviting your date to consider all the places he/she has been.
4. Who has been your greatest influence? This can tell you a lot about a person's past and present, without getting too personal.
5. What is your family like? This is an open question that doesn't get too personal, but still reveals a little more about your date's life.

On the other hand, here are five questions you definitely want to stay away from:
1. What was your last relationship like? Discussing old relationships has no real place in a first date. Live in the present.
2. Do you believe in ______? Asking a loaded religious or philosophical question can be considered intrusive, even if the other person shares all of your beliefs. It's fine to discuss philosophies openly, but don't put the other person on the spot or come down firmly on one side.
3. Do you want kids? It's an important question to ask in a long-term relationship, but not one you want to ask on a first date. It can be intimidating.
4. How much do you make? Again, finances are important to discuss in a long-term relationship, not when you first meet someone.
5. Anything dealing with sex. There's nothing wrong with a little flirting, but coming straight out with a sex-related inquiry is untactful.

Your first date is not an interview. Feel free to explore (and avoid) some of these questions, but make sure your first priority is having a good time.